The conclusion of a criminal case rarely marks the true end for most people involved in the Florida criminal justice system. Evidence of a person’s arrest and other activities remains available to interested parties long after cases have been closed.
For many people, criminal records can have disastrous implications later on in regards to employment, education, or housing—even when alleged offenders were not convicted. State law in Florida does allow for people to have their criminal records sealed or expunged in certain cases, thereby allowing them to legally deny or fail to acknowledge that the arrests ever occurred.
If you are hoping to expunge or seal your criminal record, you should know that you will need to fill out complex paperwork and meet strict deadlines. Any errors can result in your case being denied, and it can be expensive to appeal any denial.
While numerous state agencies provide information about sealing and expunging procedures, employees will not be able to give you any kind of legal assistance. You can make your life easier by contacting Pensacola criminal defense attorney John Terrezza.
Terrezza Law helps clients all over Escambia County and Santa Rosa County successfully expunge or seal their criminal records. Our knowledgeable lawyer will provide a thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (850) 764-5291 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
While expunging and sealing criminal records are similar procedures in that both procedures remove records from public view and both allow people to deny arrests ever occurred, the two processes also have their differences. Sealing and expunging criminal records each have their own chapter under state law:
People who are the subjects of sealed or expunged records can lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by their records, except when they:
People who have had their criminal records sealed also cannot lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge the arrests covered by their records if they are seeking authorization from a Florida seaport for employment within or access to one or more of such seaports.
Not everybody is eligible to have their criminal record expunged or sealed. Alleged offenders cannot seal or expunge their records if they were ever adjudicated guilty, they are in any diversion program or under court supervision, or they have previously sealed or expunged separate offenses from their criminal records.
Certain criminal offenses are also ineligible for expunging or sealing—even if adjudication was withheld. These offenses include:
Florida Statute § 943.0585 — You can view the full text of the state law for the expunction of criminal records. This covers the petition to expunge a criminal record, the certificate of eligibility for expunction, and the processing of a petition or order to expunge. You can also learn more about the effect of criminal record expunction.
Florida Statute § 943.059 — View the full text of the state law for the sealing of criminal records. Learn more about the petition to seal a criminal record, the certificate of eligibility for sealing, and the processing of a petition or order to seal. Additional information includes the effect of criminal record sealing.
Seal and Expunge Process | FDLE — On this section of the FDLE website, you can download applications for juvenile diversion expungement, lawful self-defense expungement, and the expunge/seal package. You can also find agencies that are entitled to seal or expunged information, a final application checklist, and instructions for applying. The website also includes some common reasons for denial of petitions.
Florida Criminal Record Resources | The Papillon Foundation — The Papillon Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that provides free links to web-based resources for the expungement and sealing of criminal records throughout the United States. The Florida section of this website contains links to forms for adult records for arrests, convictions, and other dispositions as well as juvenile criminal records for cases that were adjudicated and not adjudicated. You can also find additional information about criminal records and recent news.
Are you hoping to seal or expunge your Florida criminal record? If you want to make sure your case is handled the right way, it will be in your best interest to contact Terrezza Law as soon as possible.
John Terrezza is a criminal defense attorney in Pensacola who helps clients in Pensacola Beach, Gulf Breeze, Milton, and surrounding areas of Escambia County get their records sealed or expunged. Call (850) 764-5291 or fill out an online contact form right now to set up a free consultation that will let our lawyer review your case.